BBL 06 gets under way with a tasty looking Sydney Derby as the Thunder host the Sixers at Spotless Stadium.
It’s back! The KFC Big Bash will explode into 2016 with the Sydney Sixers set to make the short trip to the Spotless Stadium to take on the current champions, the Sydney Thunder.
Can the Thunder continue where they left off last season or will the Sixers get off to a solid start following a disappointing campaign last time out? Let’s take a look:
Sydney Thunder vs Sydney Sixers | Tuesday 20 December | Spotless Stadium | 09:40
To Win Match
Thunder 82/100 | Tie 35/1 | Sixers 21/20
Not many people gave the Thunder a chance going into the fifth edition of the Big Bash this time last year. They had been the whipping boys of the tournament for four years, finishing bottom of the standings on three occasions, while their best ladder finish saw them end up second.
It may not all be so rosy this season, however, Usman Khawaja is away with the national side on Test duty while Andre Russell, Jacques Kallis and Michael Hussey won’t take part this year. Skipper Shane Watson will also be missing for the first few matches of the season after injuring his calf in a Big Bash warm-up match.
That’s a lot of firepower missing from a side that was heavily reliant on big scores to overcome opposition teams. Paddy Upton is going to need a helluva season from the likes of Christ Hartley, Kurtis Patterson and the inexperienced Ryan Gibson if they’re to have any chance of reaching the play-offs next year.
The key man for the Thunder (until Watson returns from injury) will be Eoin Morgan. The England international hasn’t had an exceptional season but can turn a game on its head in the blink of an eye. The side will be hoping to see the Ireland-born slugger get at the Sixers and their bowlers going and lead a relatively inexperienced batting unit.
Things look a bit better in the bowling department for the Thunder, though. Pat Cummins will be the man to lead the attack while Gurinder Sandhu and Fawad Ahmed will be looking to bring their solid List A and First Class form into the shortest format of the game.
It’s safe to say that the Sydney Sixers were terrible last season. They finished bottom of the standings with just two wins from their eight matches. Whether or not they’ll be able to improve on that this season remains to be seen.
The biggest problem for the men in pink is that so many of their key players are involved with the national side. They’ll be without the pace trio of Mitchell Starc, Jackson Bird and Josh Hazlewood while Nathan Lyon and Nic Maddinson are also doing duty against Pakistan at the minute.
Having said that, Greg Shipperd will be able to call on the English duo of Sam Billings and Jason Roy before they head off to India in January to join up with the English side for the limited overs segment of their tour.
While they’re missing a number of key players, they’ll still be able to call on Brad Haddin, Moises Henriques, and Sean Abbott; all of whom have experience at the very highest level. I simply don’t see the Sixers enduring as torrid a season as last with the two English lads set to get them off to a good start before heading to India.
Verdict: Sixers 21/20
The Sixers seem to be in a better place than the Thunder right now. The reigning champions have had the core of their squad decimated and will do well to make the play-offs this time round. Back the Sixers to get off to a winning start at 21/20.
Value Bet: Jason Roy to top score for the Sixers at 3/1
Roy is an immensely talented limited overs batsman and has become one of the most sought-after openers in T20 Cricket at the moment. Conditions in Sydney should suit his playstyle down to a tee. Back him to get the top score for the Sixers against a rather underwhelming Thunder bowling attack.
Written by Jason Dewey for @Hollywoodbets.